From the early 1800s until the present, a number of Bowdoin graduates have been writing children's literature. Among the earliest are Jacob and John S. C. Abbott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry W. Longfellow. Hawthorne's Grandfather's Chair: A History for Youth, Famous Old People, and Liberty Tree appeared in 1841; in 1842, Biographical Stories for Children; in 1852, A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys; and, in 1853, Tanglewood Tales. Longfellow's "The Village Blacksmith,"1840; The Song of Hiawatha, 1855; The Courtship of Miles Standish, 1858; and "Paul Revere's Ride," 1863, were elementary school staples for many years.
Several other Bowdoin graduates who have written stories for children and young adults are represented in the Bowdoin College Authors Collection, including Charlotte Agell (Bowd. 1981), who writes for younger children; Arthur C. Bartlett (Bowd. 1922), whose stories are about working dogs and horses; Clarence B. Burleigh (Bowd. 1887), whose subjects are primarily boys in the northern Maine outdoors and in lumbering camps; and Robin McKinley (Bowd. 1975), who writes fantasy and adapts stories such as those of Beauty and the Beast, Black Beauty, Robin Hood, and Tales from the Jungle Book.
The Maine Imprints Collection includes a complete run of The Juvenile Key (later titled The Family Pioneer and Juvenile Key), published at the press of Joseph Griffin in Brunswick, Maine, from 1830 to 1836. This early children's periodical was wholly oriented toward what young readers were supposed to like, and the typesetting, proof reading, and make-up for the entire six years of publication were done by two of Mr. Griffin's children, who were aged nine and seven when publication began.